We are a consortium of feminist scholars in the humanities, who believe that academia and fashion are not at odds. When beginning graduate school we each had an existential wardrobe crisis. What does one wear in grad school anyway? We recognized that our undergraduate hoodies and jeans were no longer appropriate but were unwilling to accept the shoulder-padded khaki polyester suit that was ubiquitous among our female professors. As feminist scholars, we were also forced to reconcile the perceived-superficiality of our interest in style with our academic commitment to questioning gender and class essentialisms.
Today, in the face of all our eye-rolling colleagues, we defiantly wear dresses, fitted jackets, and pointy toe shoes. To teach in. And sometimes just to the library!
But don’t worry. We’ve done our research on this one too. Cultural critic Fred Davis calls fashion “a visual language, with its own distinctive grammar, syntax, and vocabulary.” Theorist Judith Butler, in Gender Trouble, points to the power of clothing to create and constantly recreate identity. And even philosopher Charles Baudelaire praised cosmetics and garments for creating beauty where nature fails. In short, fashion is a powerful tool for creating identity, subverting class or gender norms, performing self, and appreciating aesthetic beauty.
This won’t be our dissertation, but it might keep us sane in the mean time. With this project we hope to inspire other academics to embrace their love of clothes, to create unique and beautiful outfits, and to engage in a metadialogue about the art, literature, and garments that can move us all.
For posts that deal specifically with issues of academia, gender, and fashion, visit our Theoretical category. Be sure to look at the comments on these posts as well for some thoughtful, provocative discussion from our readers!
|A: Teaching, attending meetings and guest lectures, advising undergraduates, running a graduate LGBT organization, and various other daily campus activities give her plenty of reasons to get dressed every day and just as many reasons to not work on writing her dissertation.|
|E: alternates between reading Dr. Seuss to her two year old and reading theories of corporeality, empathy, and subjectivity for her dissertation. A newly-minted bike commuter, you may catch her biking to school in heels, pulling a trailer for baby e. and piles of library books.|
|L: A first year teacher at a private school in New England, L.’s daily routine also includes faculty meetings, sit down meals with students, coaching and nightly dorm duties. Dressing for success means navigating the waters between contemporary fashion, working with teenagers, and exuding authority while avoiding schoolmarm attire.|
|S: S. is a lecturer at a large research university, a daily bike commuter, a runner, and a mom to be. When she’s not teaching or working on her dissertation, she’s preparing for parenthood and consuming copious amounts of chocolate. She blogs about cycling, running, and staying fit while pregnant here.|
We were happy to have the opportunity to work with several artists and small businesses whose products reflect our standards of style, comfort, and quality. It was important to us to be transparent about these partnerships to our readers. When we endorsed a product from a paying sponsor of our site, we always categorized the item as “Academichic Sponsor.” When we received a product for review and we liked the product, we featured it on our site and categorized it as “Academichic Product Review.” Product Reviews were not paid endorsements and only reflected our opinion of the featured item. We listed the sources of all the items we wear as best as we can in an attempt to inform our readers of where and how to find similar pieces should they be interested in acquiring them for themselves.